Published On: April 21, 2018 09:00 AM NPT By: Sangita Shrestha

Creating a cultural dialogue through heritage walk

Creating a cultural dialogue through heritage walk

This Thursday, locals of Chasan near Basantapur, Kathmandu, were seen taking selfies and photographs in front of wall-arts painted on their houses. There was an air of great fun and excitement as they were rejoicing and discussing the beautiful realistic art that was just created on their houses. They were saying how those artworks truly represented the area.

The wall-art was part of the many interesting activities that happened this past week at Basantapur Durbar Square area, the heritage and cultural core of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

The weeklong celebration that is being culminated on Saturday, April 21, with a heritage walk from Hanumandhoka to Swayambhunath, included city cleaning, students’ walk and wall painting, photo journalists’ walk, stamp and photo exhibition, and painting workshop, among others. 

The 2,200-meter heritage walk from Hanumandhoka goes through the route of Maru Ganeshsthan, Santaneshwor Mahadev, Maru Bahi, Pachhain Galli, Michya Galli, Naradevi, Dallu, and Bhuinkhel before reaching Swayambhu. The participants will be able to observe 19 places of historic importance along the way.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will address the gathering when it reaches Swayambhunath. Prior to that, Minister for Tourism, Culture, and Civil Aviation Giriraj Mani Pokharel will inaugurate the walk at Hanumandhoka.

World Heritage Main Festival Committee is the organizer of the weeklong celebration. UNESCO and Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office have supported the whole event.

The trail between Hanumandhoka and Swayambhunath has been recently certified by UNESCO as a heritage trail, according to Dilli Tuladhar, secretary of the organizing committee. 

The organizers have said that anybody interested is welcome to be the part of the historic walk. 
The main objective of the event is to promote the world heritage sites and make the people aware about their importance. The two world heritage sites—Basantapur Durbar Square and Swayambhunath—are at a walking distance, which is a rarity in itself. 

Artists and students of fine arts have focused on showcasing lifestyle, culture, tradition and the people of Kathmandu Valley through their wall paintings. 

Jeevan Ram Shrestha, member of the House of Representatives inaugurated the painting workshop as part of the event, by symbolically painting on a canvas at Basantapur. According to Shrestha this is a historic and memorable walk that aims at creating awareness about importance of cultural heritage among the new generation. 

More than 70 renowned and veteran artists participated in the workshop coordinated by artist Sushma Rajbhandhari. Hari Prasad Sharma, Uma Shanker Shah, Ramesh Khanal, Udyacharan Shrestha, Jasmine Rajbhandari, Sunita Rana, Shanker Son Shrestha, Keshav Khanal, Lal Kaji Lama, among others participated in the painting workshop. They all created paintings on the spot.
During the workshop, artists were free to choose their working space in between the heritage trail and they were to create artworks under the theme of heritage. A group of eight artists chose Kangeshowri Temple as their working space. They created realistic and semi-realists artwork using what they saw around as their motifs for their painting. 

Artist Dipendra Banepali chose the western side of the temple and featured the small temple of Bishwobikrant and peepal tree growing on the temple along with the chaitya near it on his canvas. He used hues like yellow, blue, and green to create a vivid picture of the same that is crying for preservation and conservation. However, few men were working around the temple premises for the restoration of the temple. 

Talking about artists’ involvement in this event, Banepali shared: “This workshop has helped to observe the cultural heritages present in between the heritage sites listed by UNESCO. Some are being neglected where I believe the works of artists will help in raising awareness about the importance of our heritage and our identity.”

Meanwhile, another artist Bipana Maharjan believes that this kind of workshop and program not only gives exposure to the artists involved, but it can also create huge impact for the development of tourism as it helps to promote those unknown heritages in between the major world heritage site.

The event has attracted huge number of people from different walks of life and it has become a melting pot to learn about the rich culture of Nepal, according to the organizers. The volunteers who are students and are from younger generation got an opportunity to learn from the senior artists and interact with them. Likewise, locals also got a chance to see the creativity of the artists and watch them work live. 

One of the volunteers, Shreemila Shrestha shared about the workshop: “It was a life-time experience for me where I got to see the works of senior artists and also know about the importance of our cultural heritage. Moreover, creating a platform of conversation about the significance of the cultural heritage does have a significant meaning.”

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